Knakered batteries?

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by zaskar, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. zaskar

    zaskar Funster

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    ……..or am I expecting too much? :Doh:

    We decided to put our solar system & batteries to the test this weekend.
    We’re normally on a 10amp hookup 24/7 so this was a first for us.

    185watt solar panel
    2 x 110amp batteries
    600watt inverter

    Friday
    1;00pm – Got home from work and removed the hook up. Controller screen had been
    showing 13.6 v & .30amp charge (Controller pre-sett to knock off at 13.7
    volts but this has never been achieved yet, even with both the solar panel AND
    hook up connected)

    Friday evening. Out for most of the evening so max of 1/2hour TV (125 watt) via the
    inverter before bed.

    Saturday
    7.30 am – 12.5 v & .40amp charge. Only thing on at night was the 12v supply for the
    fridge circuit board. (Fridge on gas)
    8.30 am 12.5v & 1.30amp charge. ( After showers, breakfast etc)
    11.30am 12.5v & 1.10amp charge
    3.30 pm 12.0v & 2,20 amp charge (At this point, the 207 watt cooker had been run via
    the inverter for about 3 hours, my theory being that
    so long as the solar panel was putting more in than
    the cooker was taking, it was ok?).
    7.00pm 12.3v & .30amp charge (Start watching ColourTV / SKY – total 125watt for just
    over 2 hours)
    10.00pm 12,3v & no charge Bed with ½ hour reading-1 bulb.

    Sunday
    05:30 am Low DC warning alarms from fridge and gas detector!!!!!!!
    Reading 10.3 volts and .10amp charge as the sun comes up.


    So, that’s where we’re at now. With me thinking that my 2x110 amp batteries should have lasted overnight until the solar panel started charging again!
    The ONLY thing running last night was the fridge circuit board. We made sure that absolutely EVERYTHING else was turned off, even the red light on the water pump switch!
    One thing I did notice this morning was that when I crept outside to check the batteries, the “telltale” window in the top of them was showing GREEN-FULLY CHARGED, even tho my multimeter read them both at 10.2 and 10.3 amps?
    Batteries are originals (2 years old) and have been used for fulltime use on hook up 24/7.

    Thanks for reading and sorry that was so long winded, I just wanted to give all the info I could for an informed opinion!
     
  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi

    At this point your batteries (at 12v) were effectively flat >>

    the cooker was using 17.25A x 3hours = 51.75ah no way could the solar panel keep up..

    does this help explain ?

    Edit

    Tell tale windows are a waste of space.. at 10.2 v your batteries were dead flat. .. taking them down this low will shorten the life and can/will damage them ..

    As for being on EHU for 2 years , In my experience this has no detrimental effect provided they are not allowed to run dry .. ours were often on EHU for extended periods. When I sold the RV they ( 4 x85ah) were 5 years old and still giving good service ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  3. artona

    artona

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    We found that being on hookup all the time does destroy the batteries Paul. We had been on hookup all over winter once (whilst fulltiming) and then went to the Newark show in the March. Batteries lasted a few hours with minimal use

    I have been spending a lot of time in the van recently with two unmatched 100 amp hour batteries. We have a 85watt solar and I watch TV for about four/five hours per night or as little or as much as I want. water pump is electric, lights are but they all go through the 12volt system even the TV which is just a cheap 15 inch one from currys going through an amperor 12 volt plug. Was off hookup for five days last week. When i say off for five days I was using the van for five days. It has not been on hookup since the New Year so 8 months ago

    stew
     
  4. Landy lover

    Landy lover Funster

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    We have found that US RV's particularly 5'ers need a lot of leccy to run them - one of the reasons we opted for a 2kva Honda rather than an array of solar - I think that you have just found what we felt would happen - to keep the batteries up to speed you need an input 24/7 at the level of solar - even the normal charger fitted in 5'ers will not charge the batteries quick enough to cope when you put a genny on for 3 or 4 hours - when Duncan did our service earlier on the the year he fitted a different charger and now we can charge the batteries during 'normal' genny hours just for a few hours and go happily through the night - before we had to have the genny on from 8 am to 10pm and still ran out of power .

    With the 5'er you have to be very wary of the weight that is involved and while many coach types of RV can add multiple batteries to solve this issue 5'ers have to look at the best option for the weight issue - if the 5'er is used for holidaying and then mainly on EHU then solar can keep the batteries nicely topped up between trips but for full timing they are of limited use IMO. If we could find sunshine 24/7 then the situation would be different .
     
  5. zaskar

    zaskar Funster

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  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    easy mistake to make.. you won't be the first or last , it can be confusing using mixed voltages.. and power sources..
     
  7. zaskar

    zaskar Funster

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    Thanks for that Jim, still feel like thrashing myself up and down the campsite tho!!!:Doh::Rofl1:

    Shame of it is, we were hoping to run the slow cooker down in Spain on free solar leccy.
    Looks like that's out now that idiot features has got his sums right :Cool: and it can only be run on the site hook up, which is no problem, but, does beg the question...........
    Would a slow cooker be financially worth it down there, given Spanish hook up prices of about 40 cents per KWH ?
    It's a heavy piece of kit for its relatively small size and I wonder if we'd be better off just using the gas?
    Anyone tried?
     
  8. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I'd say leave it at home .. gas is cheap in Spain.. in fact, it's also cheaper running your fridge on gas than using the leccy when you are paying per kw..

    I did some sums on this a while back when we were on metered leccy on a CL in the UK.. gas was cheaper for everything, heating water, space heating, cooking and the fridge/freezer.. and it was only being charged at 14p per kw...

    So.. use gas for everything .. and with solar to charge the battery you shouldn't need to buy much leccy from the Spanish [STRIKE]robbers..[/STRIKE] camp site owners.
     
  9. zaskar

    zaskar Funster

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    B*gger!
    The batteries have been on charge since Sunday and although both are showing decent voltages with a multimeter (13.5v) neithe rare giving good readings on the hydrometer.:cry: so I think I'm gonna take the hit and go for two new 110amp batteries:cry:
    Any idea if Numax or Elecsol are better?
     
  10. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Bad news hearing about your batteries...:Doh:
    Good news.. I got my maths right on your cooker 51.75 amps I made it..:BigGrin:

    Everyone else had replied by the time I had worked it out to tell you..
    Thats a big drain TV as well 125 watts / 12 = 10 amps per hour..
    I just got a new 16" LED from Asda, 20watts = 1.66 amp...
     
  11. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Bad news on the batteries.. no idea about Numax, as far as Elecsol go, have read some bad reports .. try Googling Elecsol problems.

    A company I have used and recommended to others is Lincon Batteries, ( I think Bryan purchased from them ) direct from the factory at very competitive prices ..

    I believe they can deliver ..
     
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